Ever heard of a CSA box? It is a great way to get fresh produce from a local farm without heading to the store or market to shop. Farmers will happily create the perfect box of goodies for your family as you support a portion of their financial needs for each growing season. CSA boxes are a win for both sides of the equation. Here’s what you need to know about finding a CSA box in Leawood, KS, and the surrounding Kansas City, MO, areas.
What Is a CSA?
Image via Flickr by bnilsen
The acronym CSA stands for community-supported agriculture. This is a practice that has been happening on some level for centuries, but CSA box subscriptions are relatively new. Simply put, joining a CSA means that you provide funds to a local farm to help them budget for the seasons ahead and get to enjoy some of their crops in return. Yes, you can typically get local produce from your nearby grocery stores or farmers markets, but the CSA setup takes out the middle man and provides a more reliable income source for the farmer or grower.
More and more farms are offering CSA boxes to encourage people to get involved and support their work. Many of the box subscriptions offer flexibility in how often you get a box, what it includes, and how big it is. You can also sign up from season to season, and certain farms will only offer subscriptions for particular growing seasons. CSA boxes also usually offer different pickup and delivery options to make it as easy as possible for you to get your fresh produce.
Why Get a CSA Box Subscription?
There are loads of benefits to getting a CSA box. If you find that your produce and meat purchased at the grocery store is frequently going bad before you have a chance to use it, a CSA box could fix that problem. The time between harvesting the food and getting it to the subscriber is much shorter than the time between harvesting, packaging, sending it to the store, and customers purchasing it there. CSA boxes also support small business owners, which is important to many people.
Families that enjoy lots of fresh produce in their diets are ideal for CSAs. Enjoy cooking and getting creative in the kitchen? A CSA will challenge you to use fresh veggies in new ways. Got a juicer? Fresh fruits and veggies from your CSA box can help you make amazing and healthy juice at home.
If you subscribe to a CSA box from a local farm, be sure to keep up with farm events and celebrations. Many local farms welcome visitors and have celebrations over the holidays, like Christmas light displays, harvest festivals, pumpkin patches, and more. Take the whole family for a visit to the farm to see where the items found in your CSA box come from. They might even be able to talk to the owners and learn about farming and caring for all of the plant varieties that provide the produce they enjoy from week to week.
Finding a CSA in Your Area
There are lots of CSA options in the Leawood and Kansas City areas, so be sure to ask around and do some research before settling on one. Cultivate KC and Local Harvest are awesome resources for finding CSAs in the area and keeping up with seasonal changes. Here are three local CSA boxes worth checking out:
Pat and Rachel’s Gardens
About 15 miles from Leawood, in Olathe, Pat and Rachel’s Gardens offers a weekly CSA with discounts for signing up for multiple seasons. Boxes can be picked up at the farm or at one of their farmers market locations on Saturdays. Boxes feature seasonal veggies and fruits, like blackberries, potatoes, carrots, lettuce, and much more.
Farrar Family Farm
Farrar Family Farm provides customers with top-quality meat in their CSA boxes. They offer two CSA subscriptions, summer and winter, for six months each. In the box, you’ll get a variety of beef, pork, chicken, and turkey with different cuts and sizes. With a pickup location in southern Kansas City in Martin City, just 7 miles from Leawood, getting your box will be easy.
Midtown Area CSA
The Midtown Area CSA combines goods from several local growers, farms, and food shares. You can build your own CSA box, making it as simple or full as you like. The basic option includes weekly fresh vegetables for $20 per week with seasonal subscription options. From there, you can add all kinds of things to your box like fresh farm eggs, bread, fresh-cut flowers, meats, and fermented foods. Boxes can be picked up just under 3 miles north of Leawood at 75th and State Line on Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.
Finding the Right CSA for Your Family
CSAs offer a wide range of produce options and box sizes. It might take a few tries to find the perfect fit for your family, but it’s definitely worth the effort. If your family goes through a lot of produce in a week, look for a large box with weekly or bi-weekly pickups. As you’re getting started, consider a smaller box for a shorter period of time or maybe sign up for just one growing season and see how it goes. If you fall in love, most CSAs will offer more frequent boxes, yearly subscriptions, and larger portions.
Encourage your family to branch out a little and try new things by looking for a CSA that offers more than just vegetables. Some also include items like fresh flowers, herbs, and preserved goods, like jams and spreads.
At Crème de la Crème of Leawood, KS, we love supporting the community, local farms, and kids eating healthy. CSA boxes do it all. The Crème de la Crème curriculum encourages healthy food choices with culinary activities like cooking and group dining. Are you a part of a CSA subscription that we didn’t mention? Let us know how you like it, and maybe we will add it to our list.